All across the nation, protesters are taking to the streets following the controversial death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Since last Saturday, these protests have reached the SouthCoast area, spanning over multiple towns and cities. One of those protests happened right here in New Bedford and I was face to face with the front line.

I'll begin by stating that I do support both police and protesters, but have absolutely no tolerance for police brutality. It's unfortunate that this still exists.

I support change, I support unity, and I support love. Without change, there is no unity, and without unity, there is no love. Somewhere down the line, someone has to ignite the spark that brings about the solution and I can honestly say that on Monday night I saw a glimpse of that spark walking hand in hand down the streets of New Bedford in peaceful fashion and formation.

As I made my way to the front of the march, I felt a surge of adrenaline and uncertainty. I didn't know what I was getting myself into and was blind to the expectation. My reason for being there was simple: I wanted to educate myself and needed to see and hear the voice of the people as the chants echoed throughout the city.

My heart raced faster as I made my way through the crowd of protesters. Immediately I felt the empathy of the march as their pain and anger were vocal and strong.

"White Silence Equals Violence" rang out into the night in call and response. New Bedford Police followed closely behind to ensure the safety of the protesters and to make sure the group didn't get out of hand.

There were no signs of property damage, no signs of brutality or violence, just a peaceful protest from a group of people who are fed up with the injustice of individual action. The chants went on into the early hours of Tuesday morning until it was time to rest, only to continue again hours later.

It was an experience from which I learned a lot. Education and knowledge don't always have to originate from books, classrooms, or television. Sometimes you have to just immerse yourself into a situation in order to truly understand what's truly happening.

On Monday night, I went face to face with a peaceful protest and I'll never forget it. To the people who are hurting from the death of George Floyd and who have been fighting their entire life for justice to come to equal terms, I may not truly understand, but I stand with you in support on the front lines for change.

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